“We’re pretty resolved in our position that this is a necessary step for the future of this country, really, in terms of the debt and deficit. If we don’t stand firm on this issue — we were in trouble financially before the health care law — it’s just going to be almost exponential if we can’t stop this,” he said.
The United States is again nearing its debt limit and that argument will come to a head in about two weeks. He said cutting spending is the obvious priority and the health care law will drive up national debt he said is already spiraling out of control. He wants a balanced budget or a balanced budget amendment; otherwise, he claims, the debt will continue to get worse.
“I think that’s a point where we all need to sit down and discuss this and negotiate a path forward that puts us on a fiscally responsible path,” he said. “I think this will go on at least through the debt ceiling. There’s a leverage point there where we have to make a decision, and there is room for compromise when we get to that point, but right now the president and Harry Reid are saying they will not negotiate.”
When asked if the path forward was without “Obamacare,” he said the Affordable Health Care Act should certainly be delayed until it is proven constitutional even though the United States Supreme Court ruled it was a legal tax on June 28, 2012.
“They have picked it apart since it was initially written and passed into law. Everything has been done essentially outside of Congress, in terms of rewriting it, which is not the way things are supposed to be done,” he said.
DesJarlais charged that the president promised people could keep their own health insurance. He also promised not to raise taxes on the middle class and this is a huge tax increase, the congressman asserted.
“The Supreme Court verified what we were saying all along, that this was going to increase taxes. Congress has the ability to fund or defund these issues and that’s where we’re at right now,” he said.
President Barack Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., all know Republicans have a valid argument, the congressman said.
“They have seen the numbers just like we have. The law was supposed to help 30 million people who were uninsured get health insurance and the Congressional Budget Office has said that 10 years from now, 30 million people won’t have insurance,” he said. “It’s a tough spot because there are people right now who cannot afford insurance, but there are going to be people who are going to lose their insurance because they can’t afford this new plan, so it is just a redistribution of wealth.”
When asked if the shutdown was the result of a partisan power struggle, a philosophical division or a mixture of the two, he said for him, it is about doing what he was elected to do and that is to cut spending in Washington and not let the country fall off of a fiscal cliff.
“Nothing exemplifies government waste more than this law,” DesJarlais said. “You can look at the numbers. It doesn’t address the health care needs it was supposed to and it’s costing way more than anyone ever imagined,” he said. “I don’t think it’s political, I think it’s about having the foresight to see what this is going to do to us. We can’t sustain this type of spending.”
DeJarlais said it is not too late to defund the national insurance plan. Although individuals began shopping Oct. 1 for insurance under the Affordable Health Care for America Act, the president delayed the requirement for companies with more than 50 employees to provide insurance until Jan. 1, 2015.
“The president delayed the employer mandate, and we’re asking they delay the individual mandate, because we think it should be fair for all people,” he said. “I think people are seeing a lot of frustration with the (health) exchange situation.
“The bottom line is, we’re fighting against this because it’s unworkable and it’s unaffordable. The two reasons I was sent here in 2010 was one, to deal with the debt and spending problem. The other was to repeal this law, so I think we’re going to continue to work as long as we can.”
DesJarlais said he does not believe this federal government or the national government of any other nation can effectively run a socialized medical program.
“The private sector always tends to do a better job managing costs than the federal government, and cost is the big issue with health care,” he said. “The federal government has a very poor track record when it comes to programs such as Medicare, Medicaid or the VA, they’re all on a path to insolvency.”
He said he backs health insurance provided by the private sector, plans with health savings accounts, tort reforms in medicine, letting insurance companies compete and remove regulations.
“We get a lot of calls up here and it’s about 65/35 or maybe 60/40 in favor of what we’re doing,” DesJarlais said. “People don’t seem to be big fans of the health care law, so I think the majority like the position we’re taking.”
But, what about Social Security and Medicare, which were both opposed by Republicans in the beginning? They are now held dear to the American public.
“They should be (held dear) because you paid for them and that’s why we’re trying to take steps to protect them, but anybody can do the math, on the current path, they are not sustainable. We have to reform those plans so they’ll be there for the next generation,” he said.